Davy Crockett was one of the great crazes of the 1950s, driven by a Disney movie and, as I recall, television show. My older brother and I owned, and frequently wore, coonskin caps, as did many of the boys in our neighborhood. Crockett was, of course, a real person who among other things represented a Tennessee district in Congress before being killed at the Alamo.
This is straight from InstaPundit. It is a reminder of how far our government has strayed from its historical foundations and proper purposes:
In 1867, Harper’s Magazine published an article recounting a speech by Davy Crockett three decades earlier, when the frontier icon represented Tennessee in Congress. The House of Representatives was preparing to unanimously pass a bill awarding $20,000 to the widow of a naval hero, but then Crockett rose to oppose it.
Mr. Speaker–I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. . . .
Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week’s pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks.”
No one took him on his offer to donate a week’s pay, but he did succeed in getting the bill voted down.
… [Crockett explained] how his position was inspired by an eloquent farmer in his Tennessee district who convinced him that he’d previously violated the Constitution by voting to give away money that “was not yours to give.”
These days, many in government believe that all of our money is theirs to give, and we retain a portion of it only at their sufferance. And the idea that there are limits on the proper functions of government seems nearly extinct. Every time I hear a politician say that he is “fighting” to make my life better, I see another nail being driven into the coffin of the republic. Making my life better is my business, not the government’s.